New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he will prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing within the shale-rich state. The decision comes after years of debate and behind-the-scenes health studies. Health commissioner Howard Zucker reportedly said that he “cannot support” the practice and Governor Cuomo noted those statements are what led to his decision to ban fracking. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Governor said, “I don’t think I even have a role here.” It is unclear whether the decision can be overturned by future administrations.
Hydraulic fracturing has been approved in many states, including North Dakota, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Opponents of the practice have been extremely vocal, particularly related to potential risk of water contamination. Supporters cite the economic and national security benefits of the practice and believe that the practice can be performed safely. President Barack Obama’s administration has cautiously supported the practice, but continues to study its potential risks and whether to more actively regulate the practice.
For now it appears New York will continue to permit vertical gas extraction, which has been performed for decades in the state.
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